Archive for category Safety
Wake Forest University recently had some big names in town for their annual concert, cleverly called “WakeStock.” The university brought in hip-hop stars, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Kendrick Lamar to perform at the concert, but the highly anticipated event fell short due to crowd control issues.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, who recently hit unfathomable stardom with their song, “Thrift Shop,” were the headliners for the show, and their set was forced to end early due to a faulty crowd control barrier.
The school hired an entertainment company that used some sort of outdoor barrier to create a separation between the audience and the stage. This method was working until a broken pin closed the gap between the stage and the audience.
The school’s security, worried about injuries, attempted to hold the barricade together, but it wasn’t enough. The gap kept getting smaller, and school officials paused Macklemore’s set, asking the crowd to move back. Police were successful in pushing the crowd back, and Macklemore began to play again, but not for long.
Crowd problems continued, and again, officials were forced to stop the set, this time for good. After the show, Macklemore tweeted the following about the concert: “It was never in our control nor did we ever stop performing. That barricade was for 2,000 people and there were over 4,000 there.”
The technical director for the entertainment company rejected the claims made by the rap star, saying, “The barricade we brought to Wake Forest is crowd friendly and tough.” He said they used the very same barricade at much larger events, including a concert on New Years Eve that had a crowd of over 13,000 people.
The school made the right call, as many students said the situation was frightening. “I was near the front,” one junior student who attended the concert said, “and it was a domino effect. People kept falling. I fell on the ground and thought I was going to get trampled.”
It’s unconfirmed as to what kind of barricade the entertainment company was using. Generally, these barricades are not very tall – usually around 4-feet. Some might wonder how a barricade that size could keep separation; why the crowd wouldn’t just hop over. The answer is simple. The barricades help form an orderly atmosphere. They help security personell monitor the crowd. If one person jumps, security can address the problem. If the whole thing comes down, control is lost.
When used properly, bike rack barricades are a sufficient means for controlling outdoor crowds. The barricades are made from 16 gauge steel with an interlocking system that allows for easy connection and system extension. No matter the size of the area, you can connect the 8-foot barricades to create a sufficient barrier.
As soon as they break or falter, however, control is lost. Thus, there are two main points to be pulled from this near-disaster at Wake Forest University:
1.) The equipment is imperative to overall security. Communicate law and order to attendees by creating a safe, controlled atmosphere, and that’s what you’ll get.
2.) Check your equipment. Purchase quality equipment to start, and be sure to give a thorough test to each piece before every event.
Back in December we covered a story about an unruly crowd of sneaker shoppers in Alabama. As is common with these highly coveted kicks, Nike only releases a small number in an effort to create hype.
In Alabama, 100 sneaker heads stood waiting outside a small retailer to grab one of 36 wrist bands that would guarantee a pair of retro Jordans at a later date. When things got out of control, police were forced to use pepper spray on the crowd. This, of course, led to bad press for Nike and the Jordan brand, the retailer in Alabama, and the police. Not to mention, those who were caught in the middle and ended up in the hospital with various injuries.
This most recent incident occurred outside of a store called “Mad Rags” in Springfield, Mass. last week. An 11-year-old girl was waiting in line for the shoes, when she was caught in the middle of an argument between two other waiters. When gunfire sounded, the girl was hit in the leg. Police in Springfield sent out a massive unit in search of the shooter.
All this over sneakers. It seems crazy, right? There’s one pestering question that we asked back in December, and unfortunately, we’re forced to ask it again – was this incident preventable? What can police, retailers, and the Nike Air Jordan brand do to eliminate this sort of violence while still selling these sneakers?
Here’s what we think: Nike has already changed their release practices, pushing back the door time to 8 a.m. to eliminate campouts, and give law enforcement the benefit of daylight. They’ve also barred retailers from pre-selling sneakers, or posting pictures before release dates. These are all solid moves, but they’re obviously not enough. What else?
Crowd control equipment. It won’t stop gunfire, but it can create an atmosphere of law and order. A few bike rack barricades in front of the store paired with standing law enforcement will dramatically decrease the likelihood of violence. Inside the store, retractable belt barriers with standing law enforcement.
If you create an atmosphere that communicates order, you’re likely to have order. But, unfortunately, retailers and law enforcement can only do so much. Nike has surrounded the Air Jordan brand with hype and limited availability. Limited availability creates hype, which drives demand. And demand drives profits. It’s smart marketing, but it’s also what drives the problem.
Nike has tried to tone things down, but they may need to do more. No pair of sneakers is worth someone’s life, and we’re hoping we don’t have to cover a story like this again.
Mosh pits, science, and crowd control – one of these things is not like the others, or so you may think. The Atlantic Cities recently published an article titled, “What Mosh Pits Can Teach Us About Crowd Control in Public Spaces.” The story details one physicist’s theory on how the three of these things, in fact, are very related.
Jesse Silverberg, a full-time physicist and part-time mosher took his girlfriend to a metal show, and instead of rocking in the pit like he usually does, he stayed outside of the craziness, in order to keep an eye on his girl.
Approaching the mosh as a spectator, Silverberg started noticing patterns in what he had always thought was complete chaos. He realized, while the moshers as independent subjects seem to move with no apparent order, the group as a whole follows a few simple patterns.
So Jesse and his team created an interactive model “simplify[ing] the complex behavioral dynamics of each human mosher to that of a simple soft-bodied particle.”
In the model (screenshot seen above), the red circles are active “MASHers,” or Mobile Active Simulated Humanoids. Silverberg identifies the MASHers as “self-propelled, experience flocking interactions, subject to random fluctuations in the forces upon them. The black circles are just there enjoying the music.”
The moshers bounce around like the molecules in a gas, and Silverberg says they can be studied in the same way. Using videos of metal concerts has allowed him to study crowd behavior in ways other experiments have not.
Further, he states that the combination of flashing lights, loud music, and various intoxicating substances, makes moshpits comparable to other instances of collective motion, like riots or emergency situations, where chaos often follows.
Silverberg believes his study could be used to improve safety in stadiums, arenas, and other large facilities where people gather. The article from the Atlantic Cities cited one study, stating that 37% of injuries that took place over the course of a four-day music festival were “related to moshing activity.”
Pretty interesting stuff. I’d say Silverberg is onto something here.
Note: A lot of the information for this article came from the story published on TheAtlanticCities.com, titled “What Mosh Pits Can Teach Us About Crowd Control in Public Spaces” by Lindsay Abrams.
We are now less than a week away from the Presidential Inauguration. The parade and swearing-in ceremony for President Obama’s second term will be held on Monday January 21st at the United States Capitol in Washington DC, and officials are expecting upwards of 250,000 people in attendance.
Crowd control is a huge focus for city officials each and every year, but especially this time around, considering the issues in 2009. Speaking on the events four years ago, NBC quoted ticket holder Mustafa Omar, who said “crowd control was nonexistent.”
It was seating, transportation, and general stoppages among crowd flow that led to these and other complaints about the city’s handling of last year’s Inauguration.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer heads the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, and he is more than aware of the previous issues. In a recent statement, Schumer said, “I can’t promise you it will be perfect, but certainly we hope it will be better than last time.”
The committee is utilizing mobile technology this year with a new app available for those attending the event. Major seating issues in 2009 sparked the creation of the app, which allows attendees to see problem spots and find Metro stations that will get them where they’re going fastest. Temporary cell towers were added to protect against network crashes and ensure all attendees have service when they need it.
Of course there will also be large numbers of police, firemen, emergency crews, military personnel, and secret service on site. Bike rack barricades and other outdoor equipment will be spread throughout the area to mark restricted areas and keep crowds back from parade routes, stages, and so forth.
Hotels, restaurants, and other public establishments in the surrounding areas need to be thinking about how they’ll handle the massive influx of people as well. Extra staff, queueing equipment, and signage will be needed to ensure that all of the city’s guests are safe and properly accounted for.
No matter where your political opinions lie, it’s absolutely crucial that we keep this day safe. The last thing we need right now is another national tragedy. With the right preparation, Monday should be a safe, fun, and historic afternoon.
It’s been close to 10 years since Michael Jordan played in the NBA, but the brand born and bred by nike is far from retirement. Air Jordan sneakers are infamous for the hype, high price, and high demand surrounding them. No matter how slightly they tweak the shoes, people will pay, and they will wait to pay.
The most recent release of the Air Jordan Retro 11s, had the country’s sneaker buffs in a frenzy. On Friday December 21, the shoes were released in the black/varsity red-white color pattern worn by Jordan during Chicago’s 1995 – ’96 season when the Bulls went 72-10, and MJ snatched his fourth championship ring. In other words, for Jordan sneaker fanatics, these shoes are a huge deal.
Lines formed outside retailers countrywide, and as always, unruly crowds were an issue. In Alabama, police actually used pepper spray on a crowd of more than 100 people, all waiting for one of 36 wrist bands that would guarantee a pair at a later date. Medical personnel were present, but most of the shoppers refused treatment for fear of losing their spot in line.
The sneakers are selling $185 retail, but limited availability drove prices elsewhere, like eBay, where they’re being offered for between $400 and $500 on average.
Whether it’s outdoor equipment standing alone, or law enforcement working to control entry, there are ways to prevent these sorts of situations from escalating as they did in Alabama. Though they’ve altered their release practices, Nike just can’t seem to quell the madness surrounding their sneaker promotions, and maybe they don’t want to, as the hype drives demand, and demand drives profits.
But we’re talking about the safety of civilians here, and something needs to be done to better control the release of these coveted kicks.
It’s refreshing to see theme parks paying special attention to their crowd control policies. We know Disney World’s doing it, and Legoland Malaysia is now following suit.
On Saturday, the monstrous park with more than 40 rides, shows, and attractions, announced that they would be limiting the number of new entries into the park from 12pm to 2pm. The park noted that this measure was not permanent, but may be implemented in the future when the crowds and queues become too large to handle.
In addition to limiting attendance, park officials encouraged visitors to come on weekdays throughout December, as the park is open until 8pm during the entire month. Those who pre-purchase tickets will be allowed entry at any time. They’re also using their Facebook page and website to inform customers about potential closings and wait times during December.
Siegfried Boerst, the park’s general manager said that this was done not only to ensure safety, but to provide a comfortable experience for visitors. With excessively long queues at each attraction, the experience is no longer fun. While limiting entries might anger some hopeful visitors, it will no doubt make the experience safer and more enjoyable for those inside the park, and provide a better overall public perception.
Crowd control at large theme parks like Legoland involves more than simply placing equipment in crowded areas. It is imperative to have procedures in place that include strategic equipment placement, safety, and customer service.
It’s the day before Thanksgiving. Two days to go until Black Friday. While many of us will hit the bars tonight, many others will hit their beds, seeking one last night of solid rest before they tackle the stores late Thursday night and early Friday morning. Some have actually begun staking their posts already.
Things could get crazy. They always do. So here are 7 tips for a safer, smarter sale on Friday.
Tip #1: Place crowd barriers in front of all entrances, and when the doors open, remove them with the help of law enforcement to be sure no one is trampled. To ease crowd flow, be sure there’s enough space left between the barriers and the doors.
Tip #2: Allow only groups of people to enter at one time. Inform remaining customers of wait times.
Tip #3: Determine the type of queue you’ll be using outside the store, at the registers, and at the customer service desk, and have that equipment in place before the crowds arrive.
Tip #4: In the store, use signage to direct customers toward bathrooms, exits, and major sale items.
Tip #5: Provide a safe entrance and exit for people with disabilities.
Tip #6: Inform customers that erratic behavior (including running, yelling, pushing, etc.) will not be tolerated, and guests seen engaging in those behaviors will be asked to leave.
Tip #7: Have a loud and clear PA system in place to communicate messages to customers. A private communication system can be beneficial for employees only.
While it’s probably too late to purchase equipment in time for this year’s sale, it’s never too early to prepare for next year.
Feel free to call one of our crowd engineers today to talk about crowd control strategies for your Black Friday sale. It may be too to purchase new equipment, but we can certainly help with a few strategical tips. Call today – 1.888.404.7892.
Whether it’s a pair of Nikes, an iPhone, or a mega-popular book, Americans are willing to wait for a product if they think it’s worth it. And most of the time, we’re willing to wait in an orderly fashion.
On Tuesday, NPR published a topical piece on waiting in line, titled “Pumps and Polls: Why Americans Wait in Line.” The article dissects the social standards of waiting, tying them to two major current events on the minds of most Americans at this moment – Hurricane Sandy and the Presidential Election.
Although some people believe that we actually enjoy waiting in line, there are definite rules to this waiting game we play.
The first and most important rule is first come, first served. It’s an unwritten law, really, obeyed and followed much more than many written laws. It’s something we’re taught from a very young age. Just think of how many times you’ve heard a mother tell their child “You wait your turn,” or “(s)he was there first!”
Although this rule is followed in most every case, there are situations where the golden rule of waiting is ignored and violated. For instance, limited availability will trump FCFS.
Take disasters, for example. When there’s impending doom, FCFS is no longer applicable. People want gas, water, non-perishable foods, etc. They need these things and they’ll do whatever they can to get them. It’s a self-serving act. Thankfully with Sandy, we didn’t see too much of this. In most affected areas, people queued peacefully at gas stations and grocery marts, although there were a few incidents where tensions were high.
Waiting to vote on the other hand – “well they won’t run out of ballots,” says David Gibson, a lecturer in Sociology at Princeton University. And thus, the Golden rule will certainly stand. Gibson also speculates that voting is about morality, “a civic-minded act,” he calls it. The morality of voting influences the morality of waiting.
At the very same time, the mere violation of FCFS can cause what Dick Larson calls “queue rage,” or a line full of unhappy waiters. Larson is an engineering systems professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he believes it’s about fairness.
This is partially the reason why people use queueing equipment. With the proper crowd flow elements, customers will never wonder where the line ends or begins. Thus, the first that come will be the first served.
*Much of the information in this article was taken from a piece published on npr.org, entitled “Pumps and Polls: Why Americans Wait in Lines” written by Linton Weeks.
Small, light, and transportable, wall mount units eliminate almost every concern people commonly have about crowd control equipment. Though all too frequently, these systems are overlooked by operations managers, as they are unaware of all of the benefits and possibilities offered by their usage.
Frequently employed in retail outlets, the warehousing industry, and in maintenance and safety applications, the advantages are many. Take a look at how wall mounts are utilized in these particular industries:
Wall mount units are great for restroom cleaning and repair. Just throw a head on the maintenance cart and attach it when you’re ready to clean. This is a much safer alternative to placing a warning cone or sign in front of the door.
If you don’t want to attach mount plates around the facility, there are other temporary options as well. Magnet mounting plates, velcro, and suction cups are all solid options that will make your system temporary and easily transportable.
Warehouse & Safety Applications
Wall mounts improve communication in warehouses by demarcating traffic routes, alerting employees to dangerous areas, blocking machinery, and preventing access to aisles when forklifts are in operation.
Whether you want a belt with a standard safety color or pattern, or you’re looking for a cautionary message, there are several options, including customizable belts.
If you need to close a register or entrance temporarily, wall mounts work great as you can start and end them wherever you like. If you wish to keep it simple, use the velcro, suction, or magnet options in place of screw-in wall plates.
Where to Purchase Wall Mounts
From us, of course! And for this particular product, we’d like to highlight Visiontron Corp., as we believe they manufacture a quality product at a reasonable price.
Family owned and operated since 1964, Visiontron Corp. manufactures and assembles all of their products in the USA. In addition, they are constantly evaluating their manufacturing methods to be sure their practices are eco-friendly. Visit their website to read more on their environmental efforts and overall mission.